Published in PICMET 2009 Proceedings, August 2-6, Portland, Oregon, Volume 1-5, August 2, 2009, pages 2316-2321.
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Decision on selecting a material or process for a particular product is a common task in product engineering and facility planning. Such decision may have a significant impact on entire product life cycle including raw material acquisition, product manufacture, use, disposal, and environment. Traditional factors for decision making are economical, functional and aesthetical properties of the product. However, the issues of sustainability and environmental impact of materials and manufacturing processes have gained a growing attention in recent decade by general population as well as academicians and industrial practitioners. The objective of this study is to explore a software tool for material selection with focus on sustainability and ecological issues. To achieve this objective, first a number of sustainability/ecological attributes of materials will be reviewed. Second, a methodology for evaluating materials sustainability using an emerging software tool known as Cambridge Engineering Selector will be introduced. Finally a case study will be presented to exemplify the sustainability/ecological aspects of material/process selection.